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UK Government Launches Review into Treatment of LGBTQ+ Veterans

The UK government has launched an independent review into the impact of the pre-2000 ban on LGBTQ+ personnel in the military. The independent review is part of the recently recreated Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan. It will provide the opportunity for the Government to better understand the lived experience of LGBTQ+ veterans who served prior to 2000, including how being discharged from the military because of their sexuality affects their life.

In the course of this review, the Independent Chair will hear accounts from Veterans whose lives were shattered by criminal convictions, prison sentences and dismissal in disgrace, and of the enduring impact on those lives. Thousands more ended careers prematurely through administrative or other routes. Fighting With Pride said it hopes to achieve an honourable outcome for LGBTQ+ Veterans. Its joint CEOs Craig Jones MBE and Caroline Paige, have welcomed this important step forward by the Government in their work to find remedy for LGBT+ Veterans who stepped forward for military service and were treated in a way that does not reflect the values of the UK today.

“While the modern military embraces the LGBT community, it is important that we learn from the experiences of LGBT veterans who were affected by the pre-2000 ban,” stated the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty. “This review will allow the voices of veterans to be heard and importantly will help us better tailor support to the community.”

Adding to his comments, Minister for Equalities Mike Freer said: “This government is committed to righting the wrongs of the past. Listening to those veterans affected by the ban will be critical to moving forward. Our Armed Forces have given us freedom and peace, and I am proud to stand alongside every LGBT veteran.”

Once a chair for the Review is announced, they will give further details of how those personnel impacted by the ban will be able to input into the review, ensuring their voices are heard. The government has already taken steps to enable those who forfeited medals for reasons relating to their sexuality to apply to have them returned. The Home Secretary also recently announced an expansion to the disregard scheme, so that more veterans can benefit from it.

The review will provide information and recommendations on:

  • The potential impact that the ban may have had on LGBTQ+ veterans, including the consequences for their future lives.
  • The accessibility of veterans’ services for LGBTQ+ ex-Service personnel.
  • How the government can ensure that LGBTQ+ veterans are recognised and fully accepted as members of the Armed Forces community.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs said it will continue to work with the charity sector to support individuals through issues that may arise from the historic ban on LGBTQ+ persons serving in the Armed Forces.  

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